Bring Early California to Life

Bruce Buonauro

Living History Actor

"No Matter what I do or where I go, I can always say that I was important in the memory of a child."

Bruce Buonauro: Bruce is a professional performer with experiences that include live stage, screen, voice over, and historical re-enactments of significant California figures. Bruce has portrayed Father Serra and Jedediah Smith as part of Knott's Berry Farm's Adventures in Education program and in schools, missions, and historical sites throughout California.

Description of program: 
Each program features a personal encounter with important persons in California history: Father Junipero Serra (founder of the California Mission chain), Jedediah Smith (mountain man and fur trapper), and Blackjack Pemberton (California gold miner). This educational multi-media experience allows students to journey back in time to see, hear, speak to, and question each important historical figure in a fun and informative atmosphere. Students will learn about each character's historical period, life and experiences. Bruce portrays Father Serra and Jedediah Smith and Blackjack Pemberton in authentic period costumes. Each character visits you in the setting of an old mission where they talk to you about their lives and experiences. You can choose to have either one or all three of the personalities for your school assembly.

Father Junípero Serra as portrayed by Bruce Buonauro
Miguel Jose Serra, better known as Father Junípero Serra, became the Father President of the California mission chain early in the eighteenth century. This small frail man of modest background, soft spoken and untiring, would become one of the founders of the most self-sufficient colonies of that colonial period and be forever remembered as "Founder of the California Missions". This presentation will provide the audience not only with historical and factual data about Father Serra, but will provide an introspective look into Father Serra, the man: his life, his personality, his humor and his humanity. The costumes are authentic and the script is taken from the wealth of lore available about Father Serra in the libraries of the Missions themselves. Mr. Buonauro has visited most of these Missions, and studied at length in their libraries, and has been entrusted with documents and manuscripts unavailable to the general public by the Brothers of the Missions. He appears regularly as Father Serra at historical presentations at San Gabriel, Oceanside and Santa Barbara Missions, as well as Carmel and San Luis Obispo. He visits with thousands of school age children each year through the venue of the Adventures in Education Program at Knott's Berry Farm. Mr. Buonauro also performs as Jedediah Smith, a mountain man and genuine American hero who traveled the west in the early 1820's, sustaining himself with his proficiency as a trapper and his adeptness as a trader. Together they bring forth a seldom seen picture of Early California. Two great men with one common goal: to explore and expand a continent. Make your reservations now to meet these two men through the performing genius of Bruce Buonauro.

Grades: all levels
Classroom Visits
Special Events


Bring Early California to Life
Bruce Buonauro
P.O. Box 24
Temple City, CA 91780
(626) 222-6821 • (504) 818-9696



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